Today is an historic day. The 60th anniversary of the landmark Free Speech verdict. On this day in 1957, Judge Clayton Horn declared that “Howl” was not obscene.
As he announced:
“I do not believe that “Howl” is without redeeming social importance. The first part of “Howl” presents a picture of a nightmare world; the second part is an indictment of those elements in modern society destructive of the best qualities of human nature; such elements are predominantly identified as materialism, conformity, and mechanization leading toward war. The third part presents a picture of an individual who is … Read More
For all you sticklers for detail out there, Sunday July 17, Allen’s appearance with Sopwith Camel, was in 1966. The following year (1967) found him in London, speaking at Steven Abrams‘ “Legalize Pot Rally”.Barry Miles was inevitably there. There weren’t too many classic moments of the “Sixties when Miles wasn’t present! Miles’ 2002 memoir, “In The Sixties” just got re-issued in a profuse illustrated edition – see here.
Speaking of William Blake, hats off to antiquarian bookseller, John Windle (“Windle’s connection to Blake is more spiritual than commercial”). Allen would, more than once, call Windle, Windle remembers, if he “needed a Blake fix”.
“Scholarly, wide-ranging and full of penetrating insight and fascinating literary gossip, the book is a major contribution to the core Beat canon, and provides an astonishingly intimate view of a homegrown American literary movement that would have a generative influence worldwide, inspiring generations of writers, visual artists, filmmakers, musicians and political activists across the globe..”… Read More
[Allen Ginsberg reading and lecturing in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, 1993]
Allen’s new book, The Best Minds of My Generation, selections from Allen’s lectures (not to be confused with the lectures transcribed here on the Allen Ginsberg Project), “mercifully reduced to 455 pages, shorn of repetitions, student interventions and Ginsberg’s habit of beginning every sentence with “So” – (sic) – as the reviewer in the London Times would have it) continues to impress one and all.
Here’s an excerpt from Gaby Wood‘s review in London’s Daily Telegraph:
The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of The Beats As Taught by Allen Ginsberg is just out (this past Tuesday) from Penguin Books in England. Next Friday, Grove Press will publish the American edition. Interesting to compare the covers perhaps – the more sober UK edition, the more brash, more jazzy American? – Either way, it’s another essential Ginsberg book. Reviews are already highly positive:
Publisher’s Weekly – “A gold mine for anyone interested in beat literature . . . Ginsberg reads and thinks like a poet; interested in language and style, he abandons narrative to … Read More